Animated Explainer Video Length; How Long Should it be to Boost Audience Retention?

Aug 22, 2023

In the ever-evolving world of video marketing, animated explainer videos have emerged as a powerful tool for businesses to convey their messages effectively. These captivating and visually appealing videos not only capture the attention of viewers but also serve as a means to boost audience engagement and drive conversions. However, one crucial question that often arises is: 

How long should an animated explainer video be to maximize audience retention?

In a world where attention spans are shrinking, it becomes essential to strike the right balance between brevity and delivering a comprehensive message. After all, the goal is to create a video that holds the viewer's attention from start to finish.

In this blog post, we will explore the importance of audience retention in video marketing and delve into the impact of video length on capturing and maintaining viewers' attention. We will discuss various factors that play a crucial role in determining the ideal video length and how it can vary based on the target audience, content complexity, purpose of the video, and the platform or context in which it is viewed.

Factors to Consider when Determining Video Length

  • Know your target audience: Understand their demographics, interests, and viewing habits to tailor the video length to their preferences.
  • Consider content complexity: Determine whether the content can be conveyed concisely or requires a longer duration for a comprehensive explanation.
  • Align with the video's purpose: Adapt the length based on the video's objective, whether it's an introduction, education, or driving a specific action.
  • Account for the platform and context: Take into account the platform's expectations and viewer behavior. Shorter videos work well on social media, while longer videos may be suitable for platforms like YouTube or websites.

Statistics and Research on Video Length

1. Average attention span of viewers

Understanding the average attention span of viewers is crucial when determining the ideal length for an animated explainer video. Research suggests that the average human attention span has decreased over the years, with some studies indicating that it ranges between 8 to 12 seconds. This short attention span poses a challenge for video creators to capture and maintain audience interest.

2. Video length and drop-off rates

Various studies and analytics have shown a correlation between video length and viewer drop-off rates. In general, as the video length increases, the likelihood of viewers dropping off or abandoning the video increases. For longer videos, there tends to be a significant drop-off in engagement after the first few minutes. It is important to hook the audience within the first few seconds and maintain their interest throughout the video to minimize drop-off rates.

3. Optimal video length for different platforms

Different platforms have different expectations and preferences when it comes to video length. While there are no hard and fast rules, some general guidelines can help inform your decision-making:

  1. YouTube: On YouTube, viewers often have higher attention spans and are more willing to engage with longer videos. However, it is still important to grab their attention early on. Generally, videos ranging from 2 to 5 minutes perform well on this platform. Longer videos (up to 10 minutes or more) are also acceptable if the content justifies the duration.
  1. Social media: Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have shorter attention spans. Shorter videos (15 to 60 seconds) tend to perform better on these platforms due to their fast-paced nature and users' quick browsing habits. However, platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook Watch may have more room for slightly longer videos (1 to 3 minutes) as they cater to a professional or more attentive audience.
  1. Website: When embedding animated explainer videos on your website, consider the context in which visitors will be viewing them. While there is flexibility, it is advisable to keep the videos concise and informative. Aim for videos between 1 to 3 minutes, focusing on delivering the core message efficiently.

Best Practices for Animated Explainer Video Length

General guidelines for video length

Based on the aforementioned statistics and research, general guidelines for animated explainer video length are as follows:

  • Aim for a duration of 1 to 3 minutes for most videos.
  • For more complex topics, consider longer videos (up to 5 minutes) but ensure they remain engaging throughout.
  • For social media platforms, create shorter videos (15 to 60 seconds) to align with users' browsing habits.
  • Tailor the length based on the preferences of your target audience and the platform/context of viewing.

The importance of a concise and engaging script

Regardless of the video length, the script should be concise and engaging. Every word should add value and contribute to delivering the core message effectively. A well-crafted script ensures that the video maintains a good pace, holds the audience's attention, and eliminates unnecessary information that may lead to viewer disengagement.

Visual pacing and storytelling techniques

Visual pacing plays a vital role in maintaining audience engagement. Ensure that the visuals, animations, and transitions align with the script and create a seamless flow. Incorporating storytelling techniques, such as a compelling narrative, relatable characters, and an emotional arc, can help capture and maintain viewers' interest throughout the video.

Testing and Measuring Video Length Impact:

To ensure you're optimizing video length for audience retention, consider the following tips:

A/B testing different video lengths

Conduct A/B tests by creating multiple versions of your animated explainer video with varying lengths. Split your target audience into different groups and show each group a different video length. Analyze the engagement and retention metrics to identify which length performs better. This data-driven approach allows you to make informed decisions on the ideal video length.

Analyzing viewer engagement metrics: 

Dive into viewer engagement metrics such as watch time, drop-off rates, and click-through rates. Analyze these metrics to understand how different video lengths impact audience behavior. Look for patterns and trends to determine the optimal video length that keeps viewers engaged and minimizes drop-off.

By testing different video lengths and analyzing viewer engagement metrics, you can gather valuable insights to refine your video length strategy. Remember to iterate and make adjustments based on the data to continuously improve audience retention.


Determining the optimal length for an animated explainer video is crucial for maximizing audience retention and engagement. By considering factors such as the target audience, content complexity, purpose of the video, and platform/context of viewing, you can tailor the video length to meet the preferences and habits of your viewers. 

Research indicates that shorter videos generally yield better audience retention, but the specific duration will depend on the platform and the content you aim to convey.

Get in touch with an explainer video production company to create captivating animated explainer videos that resonate with your audience and drive your desired outcomes. Let us help you tell your story effectively and maximize audience engagement.

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